What it’s REALLY like to write a novel

No one likes to reveal the nitty-gritty details. Or the reality. But I think people are interested.

When you hear writers talking about what it’s like to be them, I think you might hear a lot of “procrastination”, “writer’s block”, “inspired out of nowhere”, “coffee”, and “sleep deprivation”. But they’re not revealing EVERYTHING.

I can’t speak for every writer

but let me tell you what it’s like irl to write a story from scratch and turn it into a novel.

WAIT, aren’t all stories from scratch?

Nope. Some stories can be created from prompts like “a man meets a girl in a dungeon and there’s a dragon” or something like that. That already sets the story up to being about dungeons and dragons (unintended reference) and girls and guys and some romance.


The other kinds of stories are literally from the scratchiest scratches of scratch in the back of the writer’s brain. The brain puts two and two together making 1000. But to get to 1000, is not just “oh I do a bit of story research and stuff and now I have my world so now I will make a novel”.

Nope. Nay, I’m a horse. To get to 1000, there’s a bunch of stuff you need to do:

  1. Find inspiration. BUT Inspiration does not like to help the writer. It might come for a second while you’re doing something else and then after you finish that task, you’ve already forgotten it.
  2. Once you have it, wait for it to come to a boil in your head. Writing a story right after inspiration leaves Writer with writer’s block and a blank page. You need to cook the raw inspiration for a bit before you’re certain this can go beyond a few paragraphs.
  3. Repeat 1 and 2 because a writer is never satisfied with their idea.
  4. Repeat 3 a few more times because, still not satisfied.
  5. Write the first scene that comes to mind. And then delete it.
  6. Write an outline.
  7. Ignore outline and start writing the story.
  8. Look up some inspirational pictures for 3 hours because you want to get a feel of the perfect look for your world. Especially fantasy.
  9. Refer back to outline because now you’ve dug yourself a world-building hole and suddenly dragons and aliens and centipedes are your residents but that’s not what you had in mind.
  10. Slap yourself and drink coffee because now, now you have it and you can start writing the story.
  11. 5 pages in and the chapter is already done. But it’s too short. Oh heck with that, just keep writing.
  12. Delete the opening sentence of chapter 1 and move it to chapter 2 because it was too revealing.
  13. Spend a good hour rewriting the opening sentence.
  14. Look up baby names online because you hate your current names. Spend 3 hours.
  15. In the middle of chapter 2, you’re on a roll…when suddenly your brain turns off and you begin to watch BuzzFeed on YouTube.
  16. Writer’s block. Have a no-loser, no-winner staring competition with the blank page.
  17. Writer’s block. Another staring competition.
  18. Same as 16 and 17.
  19. 2 months later pick up where you left off.
  20. 3 years later, finish the novel.
  21. 5 years after 19, finish editing.
  22. Still not satisfied so start another project.
  23. Repeat 1 through 22.

Note: Some of these steps are exaggerated. Mostly true though.



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